The New York Knicks went into free agency with a mission of signing point guard Jalen Brunson and that’s exactly what happened. New York’s other big moves were keeping Mitchell Robinson and signing Isaiah Hartenstein to a two-year deal. The Knicks are set at center.
A week after free agency began, New York promoted Jericho Sims to the standard roster on a three-year deal worth a little less than $6 million. After that, the 23-year-old put on a show at Summer League in Vegas alongside Quentin Grimes.
In his second year in the league, Sims will play behind Robinson and Hartenstein. The Knicks cleared up space on the depth chart by trading Nerlens Noel and then waiving Taj Gibson, and while Sims should see an increase in playing time from his rookie season, he likely won’t play a big role.
Because of the reasons listed above, Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley listed Sims as a ‘winner and loser’ in free agency.
Did the Knicks’ moves in free agency hurt Jericho Sims?
Buckley mentioned that Sims getting his two-way deal converted was ‘fantastic news’ for the center, but here’s why Buckley also considers Sims as a loser because of New York’s moves in free agency:
"Well, only the first season of his contract is fully guaranteed, so it’s possible the deal won’t be nearly as long or as lucrative as it sounds. Plus, the Knicks hardly cleared him a path to playing time. Even with Noel and Gibson gone, Hartenstein should play a sizable role, while Mitchell Robinson, Julius Randle and Obi Toppin are all still around."
All of that makes sense, but you could argue that Sims wasn’t expected to play a big role in his second season. Obviously, that would’ve changed if Robinson would’ve signed elsewhere, but Sims will still be there alongside Hartenstein to fill in for Robinson during the games where he isn’t playing.
Robinson played in a career-high 72 games last season, but it’s still a given that he’s going to miss some time here and there. Noel couldn’t be relied on last year, considering that he played in only 25 games. That’s why the Knicks’ depth at center is so important with Hartenstein and Sims behind Robinson.
Sims is yet another example of New York having success in the draft in recent years. He was the No. 58 pick in 2021 and getting his two-way deal converted after one season was a well-deserved accomplishment for the 6’9” big man.
Knicks fans may not get to see Sims on the court as much as they’d like to in 2022-23, but you can bet that he’ll appear in more than 41 games, which was his total for the 2021-22 season.
We can revisit this topic in a year to determine if Sims should truly be labeled as a loser based on New York’s free agency moves. All that should matter right now is that he’s on a guaranteed deal.